Ooh la la our french trip report


#1

I was going to try and get away with not writing this report. After all, it was generally a touring holiday, taking in a lot of French cities and areas that are renowned for their history and architecture. We had an amazing time- France is really quite beautiful, French architecture is stunning- quite different to any style we have in England. And of course it has those wonderful regions, the Champagne region, the Bordeaux region, the Burgundy region- all with their own uniqueness and their own regional produce (usually of the liquid kind…)

We travelled by Eurostar. This is the train system that actually runs under the English channel sea and connects England with France and Belgium. The car train takes just 30 minutes to get to Calais in France. It is a wonderful piece of British and French engineering, very well run, very organised and very professional. It costs far more than crossing the ocean by ferry, but the speed and organisation makes it worth the extra cost.

For those (like me) who cannot imagine what this looks like, here are some photos of us when we were boarding and boarded. When we were about to take our first trip a few years ago, a friend of mine said you can see fishes swimming past the window- shamefully, I confess, I believed her…doh!!:redface::redface::redface:


#2

I might be dumber than dumb, but I never heard of this. I always thought you just drove through the tunnel.


#3

A short drive into Northern France to our first stop Lille. We had chosen Lille as our DD will be studying at the Institute of Politics there in 2012 and so we wanted to have a look around and get a feel of the city.

The city itself was very beautiful, lots of old French architecture mixed with the modern shopping areas of any major city. The area called ‘old Town’ was particularly nice, with a street market selling fresh bread, fruit flowers and vegetables- and of course traditional French produce such as cheeses, olives, wines and fruit compotes.

Some photos of Lille below-the Place du Theatre (Opera House)Lille Cathedral,
a typical street cafe, and some of the religious artefacts inside Lille Cathedral


#4

No dumber than me Joanne! I thought that too originally, but no we drive on a train that then drives through the tunnel. I guess if there was an accident in the tunnel or a bit of road rage, who knows what might happen ‘under the sea’:noo:

P.S isn’t that a cue for a song???


#5

Our next stop was the city of Reims ( actually pronounced ‘Rance’) although us Brits call it, as it reads, ‘Reems’- uncultured lot I know:biggrin:

This was just beautiful, quite small, with streets filled with bars and cafes and lots of gorgeous historic buildings. Our hotel was just a short walk from the city centre.

Reims is in the Champagne region and champagne by the bottle or the glass is in abundance and very reasonably priced too.

Like all countries the French are sometimes guilty of abusing their historical buildings. In the photos below is a couple of an old Opera House which is now a Pizzeria- an absolute travesty. Some of the decadent architecture could still be seen, but on the whole the stonework was crumbling and the paintwork peeling- so sad.

First photo is the Opera House/Pizza place:angry:
A plaque explaining what the Opera House was in its day
Reims street cafe
Irish pub
Sube Fountain bronze victory statue in the town square


#6

Of course every French city has its Notre Dame and Reims was no exception. A magnificent cathedral and an even better inside.
Some of the stained glass windows were by the famous artist Marc Chagall


#7

Oh! Those stained glass windows are beautiful!!! Enjoying your TR, keep it up!! Please:)


#8

So away from the cultural and historical side for a moment- and onto the more interesting- if not uncultured.

I will go back to posting cities and reports and photos soon, but I think by diversing and mentioning a few other aspects, observations and encounters of the trip I might just hold your interest, there again, I may be writing this just for me…

The French- are not normally known for their love of the English, however, we only ever encountered very nice people who appreciated my attempt at Franglais ( a mixture of French and English)- of course DD who is fluent in both French and German was always absent when needed for translation- unless of course it was something that benefited her!
Alot of the French people we met thought we were American, Chelsey said this is because both Paul and I have good teeth?? Yes, a strange observation, answers on a postcard please.

Anyway-I apparently embarrassed her on the bus when I spoke to the driver in a familiar tense, the way a wife would speak to her husband- my response to her was, either way, he understood, I get my point across even if it’s French smattered with English. I also find if I speak English loudly and slowly- this makes me understood ( not true of course)

French rural toilets…a hole in the ground! with two bars either side to hold on to whilst you crouch over the hole- I kid you not, this actually happened to me- without going into graphics, this is no mean feat, and I never realised my legs were so strong. Not all French toilets are like this, but on the rural roads they do crop up occasionally.

The French receptionist (male) who felt it was OK to accuse our ‘foreign applicances’ of blowing the electrics on the whole of the second floor of the hotel. When confronted by an angry Madam (me) he quickly backed down and gave us a two bedroom suite that looked over the River Rhone (£300.00 a night- job done)

And lastly, I went in a French supermarket and I had to smile and immediately thought of Mousebuzz and Andrea- and although I got some funny looks, I took a photo of the Oeufs- on a shelf, not in a fridge…yay!


#9

Loving this dixie! And do continue with the interesting tidbits…that’s what piques our interest even more!

(btw, I found some of the public rest rooms in Germany to be quite curious too. Who can guess what a pissoir is?)


#10

Dixie, thanks for this. The pics are facinating. OMG to the rural french potty!


#11

So happy to see you decided to write a TR! I so would have taken a pic of the toilet also, but I would have had it on Facebook in minutes.


#12

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

[QUOTE=dixie;1092961]And lastly, I went in a French supermarket and I had to smile and immediately thought of Mousebuzz and Andrea- and although I got some funny looks, I took a photo of the Oeufs- on a shelf, not in a fridge…yay!

[/QUOTE]

Heeheehee… :happy:

Also… I would have believed the story about the fish out the windows. :redface:


#13

I love, love the pics of the buildings and windows!!! YUK on the potty situation! Please continue…


#14

Gorgeous pictures…well except for the toilet.:biggrin:Glad you posted a report. More please!


#15

Loving you TR, very educational:)


#16

Dixie, I constantly get on these kicks that I need to see other countries. Then my Sister reminds me that I wouldn’t be able to handle the bathrooms. I think your picture confirms it. I would have “held it” for a week!!!


#17

I really enjoy your TR pictures, Thanks for sharing them. :smile:


#18

Very nice pictures.I have to admit I also thought people drove thru the tunnel.Did the pub remind you of a few certain mousebuzzers?:whistling I don’t see anything wrong with the toilet, looks pretty simple to me.:biggrin:more pictures please.(not anymore toilets just pretty buildings):tongue:


#19

Just go. If you sweat the small stuff you will miss out on so much. Europe has so much to offer. And Dixie is taking us on a wonderful tour. The small, off the path towns are the best part of every trip throughout Europe. It is the one thing I really miss since retiring from the military. Free trips around the world disguised as training exercises.


#20

ok, good start, Karen. Moooooore please :biggrin: